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Note:

The information in this blog refers to a feature that is deprecated.

For a list of deprecated features and possible alternatives that you can use instead, see SAP note 2204286.

Since the release of SAP NetWeaver Portal 7.3 Service Pack 8 with the smartphone and tablet framework pages and the enhanced mobile workspaces and mobile homepage offering, I get asked on a weekly (if not daily) basis, questions about the best approach to develop the mobile applications that will be hosted in the Mobile Portal. In this blog I will try to answer this question and guide you through the different available approached.

The SAP Mobile Portal provides a sophisticated web and role based mobile entry point to your enterprise mobile applications. It aggregated web and native application, structured and un-structured content, SAP and non-SAP application and can be built up-on a template based solution or in a “free-style” approach. This very open framework is the key for the high interest in the SAP Mobile Portal.

OK, so we have the mobile shell – a single point of entry point for all the enterprise mobile applications. Now, let’s talk about the applications that run (and are aggregated) within the Mobile Portal.

Native Vs. Web

First of all, you should decide whether the applications will be native of web applications. There are PROS and CONS for each approach and you should carefully define the approach appropriate for your scenario. There are numerous documents over the internet explaining the differences and the benefits for each approach. You can simply Google it.

I am quite sure that after reading few of these articles, you will come to a conclusion that there is not “one-fit-all” solution. You have scenarios where native apps are most suitable and scenarios where web apps are more suitable. Don’t worry, this is the case with most customers I am talking with.

And here comes the beauty of the Mobile Portal – whatever mobile technology approach you take – native or web – SAP Mobile Portal can handle.

Mobile Native Applications

The SAP infrastructure to develop mobile native applications is the SAP Unwired Platform – SUP. This end-to-end platform provides all the required capabilities to develop robust, feature complete, native applications. Another approach would be to develop a native Objective C / Android Java (or other platform) application and consume the SAP data via SAP NetWeaver Gateway while using the dedicated Xcode plugin, and others approaches…

Whatever approach you take, make sure you inject the URL scheme to you application. This is the key to launch the native app from the Mobile Portal.

Mobile Web Applications

Now, assuming that you are taking the web approach, again you have several options for this as well. Let’s start with the most straightforward approach – developing a Portal Application (WAR) and rendering the user interface in HTML5/SAPUI5. The data can be consumed from the SAP system either via SAP NetWeaver Gateway or via the traditional SAP BAPIs and RFC’s.

Another approach is to host the web applications on a web server and consume these applications to the portal via a URL.

These are the traditional and recommended approaches as of today. We at SAP are aware of the need to make the development effort of mobile web applications easier and leaner, and working on various projects to enhance this development methodology. Sorry can’t share a lot more here… still in development. One early preview that is already available on SCN is the planned SAPUI5 support of Visual Composer.

Smartphone.jpg MobileHomepage.jpg

To summarize, the SAP Mobile Portal provides a mobile entry for your enterprise mobile apps. It aggregates web and native, SAP and non-SAP, structured and unstructured content via a template or free-style based frameworks with low TCO while leveraging your existing investment in the SAP NetWeaver Portal. Whatever UI technology direction you take for the mobile apps – the Mobile Portal can handle.

Recommended reading:

Aviad

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15 Comments

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  1. Andy Silvey

    Hi Aviad,

    this is a very informative blog clarifying the possibilities and that ultimately all roads lead to Rome SAP Portal – which as you said can handle it.

    POD in particular is a huge step for Portal and opens Portal to the tasks which on the move Managers can do on the move on their Ipads in between meetings and no longer leave until they get to their desks and their pc’s, UWL is the first of a list of perfect examples for POD and on the move Managers.

    The question remains, what is the timeline for the Business Suite Portal Business Packages to be POD/Smart Device enabled ? I mean, from UWL through ESS/MSS, SRM Shopping Cart, BI Reporting etc etc and of the other Business Packages that could provide value to be available on Smart Device and no long requiring Users to be tied to their desks and their pc’s.

    My guess is the holdup is that the api’s do not exist for WDP-A for Smart Device presentation, and the way forward might be to bring Smart Device Business Package business functionality back onto the Portal in the form of Portal Smart Device Business Packages for ESS, MSS, etc etc to utilise the JQueryM & HTML5 libraries.

    All the best, thank you for your great blogs.

    Andy.

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    1. Aviad Rivlin Post author

      Hi Andy,

      Thanks for your feedback!

      Indeed we are aware of the fact that we need to extend the footprint of predefined applications designed for the Mobile Portal. Stating from mobile UWL all the way to full fledged Mobile Portal Business Packages and WYSIWYG development environment for the Mobile Portal.

      We are working to enhance these areas and especially we are planning a basic Mobile Portal UWL. Sorry for not being able to share more details since it is still in development (and hence I must also add the traditional SAP disclaimer for this one).

      As stated in my blog, also the Visual Composer team are working on a very interesting project that will support the implementation of the SAP Mobile Portal.

      Please keep in mind that as part of our new Mobile Homepage offering, we do ship pre-defined content for RSS feeds, media feeds, application launcher, document list – all designed for mobile devices.

      Finally, I would like to open the discussion also for our partners and eco-system to develop Mobile Portal content (a.k.a. Business Packages). This combination of SAP framework and content, custom developed content and partners content  is a key for the success of this very exciting new offering – SAP Mobile Portal. I will be happy to work with our partners to achieve this (my contact details are available in my SCN profile).

      Regards,

      Aviad

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      1. Andy Silvey

        Hi Aviad,

        thank you for taking the time to give such detailed feedback.

        It is great to hear that a Mobile UWL is in Development and furthermore the Mobile Portal Business Packages.

        Working with POD we’ve tested the application launcher and it is nice, infact POD looks nicer look and feel wise than Portal on the PC !

        Regarding your call to Developers for SAP Mobile Portal, am I correct in my suspicions that because of the availability if the JQueryM and HTML5 the Mobile Portal Business Packages will move from WDP-A back onto the Portal ?

        Kind regards,

        Andy.

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        1. Aviad Rivlin Post author

          Can you share some screen-shots of your tests with the Mobile Portal? This will be great!

          As stated above, we are focusing first on the Mobile UWL. I don’t have yet anything to share further than this.

          Rgds,

          Aviad

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          1. Andy Silvey

            Hi Aviad,

            I will try to get some.

            What we have been doing so far is enabling the POD, create the Framework Page and all the configurations for Smartphone and Tablet and create Roles etc and then testing the existing Portal apps like UWL and SRM Shopping Cart and XSS through the IPad and IPhone.

            The Black Theme is excellent and the application launcher looks great.

            When I have time I’ll get some pictures of the IPad, the look and feel of Portal on Device is really nice.

            All the best,

            Andy.

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      2. James Ibbotson

        Hi Avaid

        Many Thanks for that interesting comment, we are a full SAP HCM customer at the moment running ESS/MSS & SRM within EP.

        One of our projects for this year is to move from 7.02 to a 7.3 Portal, we also have a BYOD policy, and would potentially be interested in testing some of the mobile UWL and ESS / MSS frameworks. Infrastructure wise we have a full clone of a production system enviornment to work on, so would be interested if you have any further information on this

        Many thanks

        James Ibbotson 

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    1. Michael Beining

      Hi Aviad,

      Due to different SAP S-Users (partner and customer accounts) it seems that I have quite some duplicate SCN users… I think I need to do some housekeeping…

      Following you will find the SCN Business Card of the SCN Account I use in the daily business: Michael Beining It’s the fourth one 😉

      Concerning Mobile Portal Apps we currently have 3 apps available, more are planned.

      Following you will find an overview including links to our mobile videos

      • News App: Capable to render portal content, e.g. news or other CMS content, mobile device specific. One highlight is that the social portal functions (Like & Comment) can also be used from the mobile app. Watch the video for further details!  
      • UWL App: Reduces turnaround times for approvals and processes thanks to mobile access. Watch the video for further details! 
      • Search App: Offers convenient search options, e.g. in documents, news and contact information. In combination with the btexx universalSearch in even more corporate data sources can be searched. Watch the video for further details!

      Best regards,

      Michael

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  2. Murali Shanmugham

    Thanks for the update Aviad. I agree with Andy’s comments and its the same thing everyone is looking for in the future release. One business package used on several devices. Infact, It was just weeks ago I was wondering if Visual Composer could be a candidate for exposing contents on Mobile Portal. Good to know SAP is working out on the possibilities.

    Regards,

    Murali

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  3. Michael Healey

    Dear all

    I have found this blog very interesting as I am about to start a “Portal on device project” and wondered if you had the answer to a conundrum.

    I have upgraded my Portal to NW 7.3 SP9 and would like to do a Portal on Device test without before developing any super whizzy UI5 applications.

    I am very familiar with Rule Collections / Desktops etc. and understand the concept of creating a /mobile, /tablet and /desktop entry point but am looking for something a little more dynamic.

    Is there any Portal runtime service that will let me call the same Portal URL from any device e.g. https://hostname: port/irj/portal/MyAccessPoint but can detect the device that called it including resolution of technology (Android, IOS etc.) and redirect to the appropriate /mobile, /tablet or /desktop URL.

    I have not found any examples regarding how to achieve this.

    Many thanks in advance

    Mike

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    1. Andy Silvey

      Hi Mike,

      let me try to clarify this, the beauty with Portal on Device is,

      your Portal will only even have one url, normally the standard /irj/portal url

      and then, any device useragent which accesses the Portal,

      . pc Internet Explorer

      . tablet browser

      . smart phone browser

      the Portal’s Display Rules will detect the device type and serve up the page framework required by that device.

      So, when you implement POD there is only one url.

      Let me know if that’s not clear or if I have misunderstood your question.

      Also, have a read of this blog on all the steps to implement POD:

      How to set up Portal on Device

      All the best,

      Andy.

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      1. Michael Healey

        Dear Andy

        Your swift reply has been appreciated and I look forward to getting my hands on our upgraded Portal. My pessimisim has been built on a foundation of underwhelming Portal releases, though this one is clearly an enormous step.

        The missing link for me was(is) exactly how the user agent works in detecting the device (the algortihm / set of instructions).  I know the Portal has always been able to detect Mozilla vs IE browsers. I can see the configuration of desktop rules but have not seen a comprehensive representation of precisey how the device/browser detection works.

        Many thanks again

        Mike

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        1. Andy Silvey

          Hi Mike,

          did you read the blog link I gave, if you read the blog, you see all the steps including creating the framework pages for devices etc and device classifications.

          How does the EP detect the device ?

          On the browser, whether you’re on a PC, Tablet, SmartPhone, when you send a request to the Portal the request will contain among other things, details of the User-Agent/Browser/DeviceType and when the Portal receives this request the first thing the Portal does is check the Display Rules and then detect in which page framework to serve up the request in.

          POD is the biggest thing to happen to Portal since we got rid of the two ldaps and MS IIS.

          Have fun with POD.

          Andy.

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